Pierre Ryckmans II (2010)
Winner Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award 2010
Bega Valley Regional Gallery June 2010, judged by writer and art critic John McDonald
Renowned scholar, sinologist and author, Simon Leys was the pen-name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese Literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 to 1993. His books include The Life and Work of Su Renshan, Rebel, Painter and Madman, Chinese Shadows, Other People’s Thoughts, The Death of Napoleon, The Wreck of the Batavia & Prosper and Simon Leys with Stendhal. He was a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and a member of the Académie Royal de Littérature Française (Belgium). He had been the recipient of many literary awards, including the Prix Renaudot (France), Prix Henri Gal (Académie Française), Prix Fémina (100th Anniversary, Ministry of Culture, France), Prix Quinquernal de Littérature (Ministry of Culture, Belgium), Prix Del Duca, Académie Française and Prix Leygues, Académie de Marine (France). He was also a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, Le Figaro Littéraire and The Monthly. In 1996 he delivered the ABC’s Boyer Lectures The View From the Bridge - Aspects of Culture. This is the second of two portraits of Pierre Ryckmans by Mathew Lynn and was painted in early 2010.